Summer intern programme swings into gear

Software developer finds value in internships and plans to host more students

The Ministry of Science and Innovation is calling for applications from tertiary students interested in internships with IT companies, as well as science and engineering organisations,over the 2011-12 summer. It will fund 200 internships nationwide.

Students who are interested in internships will be able to start applying from November 9.

One IT company that has benefitted for the past three years from hiring interns is Wellington software developer YouDo.

Two former interns, Luke Grimstrup and Remy Flatt, are now full-time employees at YouDo, and two others, Hamish David-Evans and Alastair Munro, gained valuable experience at YouDo, before embarking on development careers with other organisations, says YouDo managing director Dan Lee.

“Luke was an intern during 2007-08 and is now leading a project,” Lee says.

The project is Beetil, a SaaS platform aligned to ITIL which has more than 70 customers around the world.

“We’ve been developing it for the past three years and Luke is chief developer for that project,” says Lee.

Remy Flatt was an intern for the 2010-11 summer and is now a Ruby on Rails developer at YouDo, involved with support for Beetil.

Hamish David-Evans was an intern in 2008-09 and after moving to full-time employment at YouDo for a year after his internship, started contract work with Ruby on Rails, initially in Europe and then back in New Zealand.

Alastair Munro, the 2009-10 intern, was given the task of exploring the possibilities of iPhone development during his internship at YouDo.

“He was our first non-Ruby on Rails intern,” Lee says.

“His project was to build an iPhone app prototype.”

While Munro’s input was valuable, “the experience we got from it was that we didn’t want to aggressively pursue that path.” Munro has since gone on to work for Catalyst IT.

The internship programme meant YouDo was able to test the waters in fields it was new to, such as iPhone development, without having to devote senior staff members to such areas, Lee says.

“Every year, when we think about the projects we want to give to the students, we give them exploratory projects.

“We don’t throw them straight into production apps.”

Overall, the internship programme has proved to be very valuable, he says.

“It enables us to trial new things and find new talent, and it is a chance to give back to the development community – it’s a two-way thing.”

YouDo will “definitely” be taking on an intern this summer, and possibly more than one, he says.

The YouDo interns were hired under the auspices of the Summer of Tech programme, formerly known as the Summer of Code.

A Summer of Tech spokesman told Computerworld employers can use Summer of Tech as a vehicle for selecting interns if they have applied for Ministry of Science and Innovation funding.

Criteria for MSI funding include a stipulation that the student must work on a specific research and development project, and must not be assigned to general work experience. The student must have completed their last or second-to-last year of study towards an undergraduate degree.

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Tags careersmsisummer of tech

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